Author Topic: Kids and Free Labor  (Read 14489 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #60 on: September 27, 2013, 11:58:32 AM »
So Tween needed supervision for the summer.

Grandma and Grandpa were going to be very busy renovating the house.

What was Tween supposed to do with his time? How were they going to supervise him?

Having him work with them meant he was supervised. And occupied with something educational.

Promise

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #61 on: September 27, 2013, 12:04:52 PM »
Look at the bigger picture. Is it better for tween to sit in a house playing games or trolling the computer? Or is it better to learn a trade and become a useful member of his family? Using children for labor isn't evil necessarily, it's normal in most homes. Children need useful things to do in order to become a productive person in our culture. If someone asks me to take in a child, that child will be treated as one of my own and will help out alongside everyone else in my house. Even my sons' teen friends, when they came over, helped out with things if I needed an extra set of hands. No one ever stopped coming over because they were put to work.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 12:10:07 PM by Promise »

Sharnita

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #62 on: September 27, 2013, 12:05:42 PM »
So his parents got free childcare (including room and board) and he paid with labor. Maybe it is his parents who should be paying him if they feel he deserves it.

delabela

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #63 on: September 27, 2013, 12:07:31 PM »
Maybe it's because my SO is involved in construction, but I can't get too worked up about the danger aspect - if it's under the supervision of people who know what they're doing (and I assume people who flipped houses for years do), then that doesn't seem like a huge risk.

If I ask a family member to watch my child, that family member is in charge.  They do not have to run everything by me.  This is because I only choose people to watch my children who I believe have good judgment and who are familiar with my expectations and parenting beliefs.

I would not expect my child to be paid in the circumstance described in the OP.  They didn't conscript him, it's more like they agreed to have him along for the ride.

esposita

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #64 on: September 27, 2013, 12:13:35 PM »
I too find myself agreeing with everything that EllenS is saying here. :)

Also, five eight-hour days spent in learning home construction by immersion?! My kids aren't 12 yet, but I think I'd pay someone who gave them that experience. It will be invaluable later in life.

EllenS

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #65 on: September 27, 2013, 12:13:49 PM »
I just find the whole concept of monetizing family relationships very very strange. The grandparents weren't "babysitting" as paid caregivers, they were having a relationship with their grandson, by including him in their life.  Their life includes a lot of hard work - apparently that is a big part of who they are and the way they live.
The grandson wasn't working for his grandparents as a paid laborer.  He was participating with them in their day-to-day activities. 

delabela

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #66 on: September 27, 2013, 12:23:33 PM »
I just find the whole concept of monetizing family relationships very very strange. The grandparents weren't "babysitting" as paid caregivers, they were having a relationship with their grandson, by including him in their life.  Their life includes a lot of hard work - apparently that is a big part of who they are and the way they live.
The grandson wasn't working for his grandparents as a paid laborer.  He was participating with them in their day-to-day activities.

This articulates something I was thinking much better than I could.  Well said.

MissRose

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #67 on: September 27, 2013, 12:23:49 PM »
From elementary age and on, both my sister and I were to help with household chores even if they were as simple as feeding the dog and cat.  My mother started us on simpler things like dusting or vacuuming then by the time we were teenagers, we were capable of doing all of the housework which was a foundation for us for the day we would be living on our own.  Most of the time we were not given compensation for the work & my parents did not give us an allowance.  We were also asked to assist with things like setting the table or washing dishes when we were visiting our grandparents.

I still resent the day my mother had me, my younger sister and my dad do cleanup duty after my uncle's wedding at the reception hall when I was around 15 or 16.  I have no idea if the catering place was to do that but my mother had us 3 and her doing the work like sweeping, picking up trash, etc.  We got done around 2am then had to get up 5 hours later to go to Sunday morning Mass.  I know I was not happy with that arrangement.  I did not mind assisting my aunt with slicing wedding cake and placing slices on the small paper plates after the bridal couple cut the cake but she asked nicely compared to my mother who treated us the opposite way.  My sister and I did not mind helping some with decorations and setup of the hall ahead of time but our mother was not always there which made it nicer.


Virg

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #68 on: September 27, 2013, 12:25:08 PM »
Audrey Quest wrote:

"If she doesn't want to raise her kids that way, that's her prerogative.  But, the disagreements here are about oarenting style not etiquette."

Not all of them.  My argument has always been to the etiquette of the situation, and my take is that the grandparents failed at their etiquette by not asking the boy's parents before having him do a full time job, especially a job that would be a violation of labor laws if the grandparents told anyone in authority about it and most especially a job that it's nearly a forgone conclusion that the boy's health care policy wouldn't cover.

Promise wrote:

"Even my sons' teen friends, when they came over, helped out with things if I needed an extra set of hands. No one ever stopped coming over because they were put to work."

Did you ever ask one of them to build you a shed or paint your house?  The OP is talking about a full time job here.


esposita wrote:

"Also, five eight-hour days spent in leaning home construction by immersion?! My kids aren't 12 yet, but I think I'd pay someone who gave them that experience. It will be invaluable later in life."

Then consider that your kid could get hurt and your health insurance carrier would tell you to get stuffed because the contractor insurance was responsible for the bills.  It'd be even better when whatever contractor policy the grandparents had tells you to get stuffed too because there's no way any construction insurance underwriter would ever be willing to insure a tween aged full time worker.  When something as simple as a broken toe could cost you into five figures and a major injury could easily bankrupt you, would you still be so willing? 

EllenS wrote:

"He was participating with them in their day-to-day activities."

He was working in an environment so hazardous that people who are trained and do it for a living have awards to give out when injuries don't happen.  This particular example is too far-reaching because of the amount and nature of the work.  I fully agree that kids should be willing to help out, but I've always maintained that this example just goes too far.

Virg

LadyClaire

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #69 on: September 27, 2013, 12:29:00 PM »
I did chores as a kid and teenager, and I also helped my dad a lot with DIY projects. Including building an extension on the house, putting up a shed, re-wiring the house, and replacing a lot of the pipes in the house.

If my dad hadn't had such a nasty temper and expected me to be able to do things that were unreasonable (like expecting a 12 year old girl to be able to help lift and carry extremely heavy things that two full grown men would have trouble with), it would've been enjoyable and I would have gotten a lot of value out of the experience. Learning to do these tasks will help the son in the future. As long as the grandparents didn't task him with things he wasn't physically capable of doing, or couldn't do without risking serious injury, and as long as he was allowed to take breaks (meals, bathroom, etc, which I wasn't allowed to do) then I see no issue with it. One day the tween will be a man who will probably own a house that will need repairs done to it. Having a basic knowledge of how electrical wiring and plumbing works could save him a lot of money.

I do think the grandparents should have cleared it with the parents first, though.

padua

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #70 on: September 27, 2013, 12:30:41 PM »
the entire concept of "let kids be kids" is fairly new. maybe 1940's? so many families still adhere to the importance of work and helping the family. it's certainly a first world luxury. so i agree that whether or not children are expected to work and whether or not it's for pay is a family/cultural decision. because of the lack of agreement here (it seems pretty split so far), i think it's safe to say that it's certainly not a cultural expectation to make kids work nor is it an expectation to expect children not to work. therefore it's a matter of preference not etiquette.

and it may just be in that family that grandparents do get to make decisions regarding their charges. if the father was okay with it, who are we to say that is an inappropriate decision? many grandparents help 'parent' their grandchildren. my family is one of those 'it takes a village to raise a child' families and if my children were staying with one of my siblings or with my parents i would absolutely trust them to make good decisions regarding my kids. but that's just within the context of my family.

WillyNilly

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #71 on: September 27, 2013, 12:46:47 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone they have certainly been very thought provoking. I don't have time to post a complete response right now but I did want to answer a few questions.

Son found out about the work the day it began but after the days work was done. This was my real issue. I feel like a parent should be asked beforehand if it's ok that their kid spend all day doing labor.

The house was worked on at least five days a week for about eight hours a day
so this was a full time job that Tween was tasked with.

So the kid's dad found out the first day (admittedly after the work was done) and let the work continue all summer, 5 days a week? Sounds to me like the parents were A-OK with it since they didn't put a stop to it before the second day started.

shhh its me

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #72 on: September 27, 2013, 12:59:41 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone they have certainly been very thought provoking. I don't have time to post a complete response right now but I did want to answer a few questions.

Son found out about the work the day it began but after the days work was done. This was my real issue. I feel like a parent should be asked beforehand if it's ok that their kid spend all day doing labor.

The house was worked on at least five days a week for about eight hours a day so this was a full time job that Tween was tasked with.

The bolded is actually irrelevant IMHO,  after the first day he was given permission.   The first day they didn't have permission but after that it was a parenting decision and has nothing to do with etiquette.

I think if grandpa said " hey we are buying a new flip house" or anything like it,  then not expressly saying " JR will be working on the flip house." is just a reasonable miscommunication.  Under these particular circumstances "they have a flip house = children will be working on flip house." is the most reasonable conclusion.


If grandpa gave no indication they had a flip project started I think they were wrong in not sharing that. I think if you agree to be responsible for someone children you need to give notice if your routine is significantly changing. 

I think that's the only etiquette issue when people change their routine so much you're conclusions are based on totally incorrect information. That the child might have done any of these tacks in the grandparent home if needed I think would have been the most obvious assumption.  We know our parents and know about what work they think is appropriate for children. I think people are obligated to discuss things that are not know in this case before the first day of work that they owned a flip house.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #73 on: September 27, 2013, 01:11:19 PM »
Growing up, our family dynamic is such that various family members help each other with home repairs. As a kid (and tween and teen and now an adult), I was expected to help with these repairs. It was never thought of as free labor, just what you do as a family members. This is where I learned how to pound a nail and measure a board and where I grew a terrible hatred for hanging drywall. (And this hatred led me to not want to do it myself, so I worked hard in school so that I could get a good job and hire someone else to do it!!!) I am sure that I learned other general skills (like about hard work and team work, ect), but it was part of my raising.

In my family dynamic, you wouldn’t necessarily need to have the activity approved by the parent. If you happen to be caring for another’s child and doing home repairs that day, the child would just be expected to help out. But in other family dynamics, it may be more wise to let the parents know and possibly get an ok from them. But I see nothing rude or wrong with requesting the help of the child.

Twik

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #74 on: September 27, 2013, 01:13:51 PM »
The grandson wasn't working for his grandparents as a paid laborer.  He was participating with them in their day-to-day activities.

Unwillingly. And for which they are making a profit, and he is not, although he is putting in a workweek like an adult.

Forty hours, five days a week is full-time work. How many people would spend their vacations doing this for relatives, for nothing more than room and board? Only to see the relatives realize a fat profit at the end, without sharing any of it?

I must say, if I were Tween, I'd not want to visit my grandparents again. Whether or not the grandparents should have checked with the parents (and I believe they should have), they were rude to their grandchild.
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